Audio News for December 23, 2006

by | Dec 23, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Home Theater Big at Upcoming CES – The 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (January 8-11) will once again focus heavily on home theater technologies. The market has been driven to new heights by hi-def television and high-performance audio systems, and for this 40th anniversary exhibition CES will be presenting the latest and greatest HT products. HT exhibitors at CES will be found at three locations this year: the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Expo and The Venetian hotel. Key exhibitors include Dolby Labs, DTS, Kimber Kable, Klipsch, Meridian, Monster, Polk, Runco/Vidikron, Thomson and THX. There will be more than 175 conferences and SuperSessions covering emerging developments in the home theater industry. Over 20 market-specific TechZones will be set up, including ones on the Connected Home, on HD-DVD, and the NextGen Home Experience showcasing the ideal HT system.

Keeping Home Theater Simple – The rapid price drop in large video displays is stimulating many  households to consider their first home theater system.  However many hold back because of the mass confusion generated by all the different acronyms and parameters seemingly required to put a HT system together today. The fact is a fine HT system can be assembled without making a big investment.  A multichannel AV receiver should be the heart of your system’s electronics.  Most of the pricey ones have myriad features which you will never use.  For example, you can have a great setup without HDMI, THX, 6.1 or 7.1 channels. You should look for decoding of Dolby Digital, DTS and ProLogic II, but even the entry-level receivers now have that. An analog component video cable and a six-channel analog patch cable deliver fine image and sound – sometimes even better than the all-digital HDMI option. Try AV brands such as Denon, Rotel, NAD, Onkyo, Panasonic, and Sony. There are some excellent universal disc multichannel disc players now in the $200 area. You don’t need five channels of high power if you have smaller and/or more efficient speakers. But don’t settle for the lowest-end home-theater-in-a-box systems. There are many much better options now for only slightly more investment.

Rhapsody Music Service in More Audio Products – RealNetworks – whose Rhapsody API (applications program interface) is already included in Sonos’ wireless multiroom audio systems – expects more MP3 players and other devices at CES to incorporate its technology. Rhapsody has a site library of 2.5 million songs and subscriptions ranging from $9.99 a month to $14.99.  Downloading songs is 89 center per song for subscribers and can be transferred to most portable digital music players, including iPods. Users have a choice between Windows Media Audio (WMA) or 192kbps Real Audio 10 (RAX) formats – the latter using the AAC codec for digital rights management (DRM). 

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